Danielle Oviedo

Danielle Oviedo shares her experiences and advice after working for the Center of Reproductive Rights in L.A. at a time when abortion is on the line.

Sofia Ramirez

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to this line of work?

A: I stumbled into the career of fundraising, I [first] went into a retail career but didn’t feel fulfilled and then made my way back to LMU trying to find that sense of purpose and I stumbled into fundraising. [Then] I found out about the center. [The Center for Reproductive Rights] aligned with everything that I believe in personally, career-wise, as a Latina, [and] as a single mother to a daughter. Women’s rights and education are the things that I am extremely passionate about [as well as] helping people of color.

Q: Politically most students are unable to make an impact on decisions surrounding abortions due to the voting age, is there any way they could make a direct difference on these laws?

A: You know, I always say this, I know it feels like this is such a big task and how can I do it even if I’m young and I don’t have the age to vote? What’s really important is, one [to] educating yourself. I think people really undervalue that, educating yourself is very important because once you educate yourself, not only are you educating yourself but you [also] have the ability to educate others around you.

That’s the second thing you can do, you’re spears of influence and that looks different, you don’t have to have a committee of 50 people to feel that your changing people’s minds, it can be as simple as talking to your parents.

I know, especially coming from a Mexican background that’s a tough call, I have grandparents I have aunts that are extremely conservative, those are tough conversations that you need to have, and if you are able to open up your family your parents, just whoever just a little bit more who are able to, that’s a way that you can make a difference, and also just for the generations to come, you’re the future of the generation the more you educate yourself the more educated voters we will have in the future which I think is the biggest disconnect right now, is that people are voting and they don’t even understand what they are voting for and they don’t care to understand or get that information.

Q: Could you see the overturning of Roe v. Wade having an effect on other highly debated human rights laws, such as LGBTQ+ marriage?

A: Absolutely, I mean this is just the start. The people that really, you know the conservatives that are really against people having rights, these are people that are going to come after everything. You saw it as the overturning of Roe, you know one of the Supreme Justices explicitly said, oh let’s talk about LGBTQ+ rights, interracial rights, all these things will be brought to the table because I feel we’re in a moment where the anti’s and conservatives feel very empowered like if we’re able to do this, we can do other things, and so this is why it’s so important that people realize the gravity of what’s at stake.

Like we’re not even talking about just reproductive rights or abortion, because I feel like people just think of abortion as just abortion, reproductive rights are a whole other thing that doesn’t just involve that because once abortion was on the table or Roe was overturned. Now there are conversations on, let’s not have birth control, there are just so many things that are going to change people’s lives.

And again it goes back to educating yourself because I think we live in a society, especially in the United States, of well if it doesn’t affect me then whatever I don’t care or I’m not going to care until it affects me, but its just thinking of the future generations you know everybody–most people, not everyone has to have a baby, an offspring, but everyone knows someone who has had an abortion, everyone knows someone that will be affected this way and I think contextualizing it in that sense, like maybe it’s not abortion or reproductive rights.

I’m sure everyone knows one LGBTQ+ person that will be affected or continue to be affected or someone else, you know it just always comes back to human rights and caring about humanity. And there’s so much at stake but then again I think this was a wakeup call to a lot of people and what’s been really great is seeing people show up at the polls, I’ve seen that it’s really woken people up, like oh crap I need to vote, and we have seen that translate in ballot initiatives and stuff like that so I hope its a wake-up call and people realize what is at stake because really everything is at stake at this point.

Q: Do you see other methods of birth control, such as Plan B and the pill being put at risk after Dobbs v. Jackson?

A: Honestly, I do not believe so just because Republicans are not smart to put that on the table because men and women of any political party are pro birth control. And so I think in the general public overview people will go and vote, just like reproductive rights, I feel like reproductive rights is a non partisan issue which means that is not necessarily Republican or Democrat, like most people when you ask them specifically on that issue are about women having rights to their own bodies.

While it will be put up, and I think it will be debated and people will try, I don’t really see it actually passing because it is really insanity, Because you don’t want people to have abortions but then you don’t want them to protect themselves, and its not smart for republicans or politicians to put that as their campaign because they will not be voted, so i don’t foresee that being an issue in terms of birth control.

Conservatives have been coming after abortion rights ever since Roe v. Wade gave women the right to an abortion.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about why they succeeded now when they hadn’t before?

A: Trump. He came in and said this is what I’m going to do and that’s what he did. He put people in positions of power and he didn’t care how he did it. He made sure that when he left office it was a very conservative Supreme Court and that’s what allowed this to happen. In the past, they did not let Obama nominate someone so close to an election.

They had brought this up to the table but [Trump] did not care. He made sure that a conservative was put in [as a] replacement of [R.B.G] to it up for them to be able to do things like this. So that is really what happened and thats why it is so important for people elect from the bottom, state officials, everything, it is really important for people to pay attention to that not just major election, because while those are important too leading up to that its just really important that people vote and they know who they’re voting for and know what they stand for because that’s what happens when people don’t pay attention, and then whoever is in power is able to do this.

The house and the senate is also really important and that happens in primaries not just in general elections, its also important that we have a mix so we’re both equally represented. Or for us being a little more on the liberal side to block things like this from happening. But thats how that happened.

Q: How have you seen race and wealth status play into women’s struggles concerning abortion?

A: That’s a huge one. At the end of the day, this will not affect people of wealth. Typically people of color are in the minority when it comes to wealth and a lot of these struggles people don’t understand. People have said, “[There are] liberal states [and] people should just travel to these states.” People fail to realize that [there are] people everywhere living in extreme poverty with a lot of kids who can’t afford to travel.

At this point, if you’re in the South, you’re having to travel hundreds of miles just to get to the nearest clinic that legally can do the service or procedure.

Really, this is a direct attack towards minorities, towards women that are unable or don’t have resources. It’s keeping people in poverty still in poverty. Women in this society are expected to work like they don’t have kids or families and we’re expected to be at home like we don’t have a job.

How are you expecting me to do these things when you’re forcing me to have another child that I don’t want, that I cannot afford, that I cannot provide for, as well as the one I already have?

You’re keeping women from progressing. If people want to have 10 kids, let them decide. That is the life that they choose to have. But there are women that don’t want that. At the end of the day, things happen and some people don’t have resources and are not really educated enough—not by choice, just by circumstance. It comes back to the privacy of your life and what you choose in your own situation. Why should the government have so much control over your life, over something so personal?